Rihanna‘s latest music video for her new single, “Man Down” is being called “an inexcusable, shock-only, shoot-and-kill theme song” that shouldn’t be aired on television, according to the Parents Television Council.
Yesterday, Rihanna struck back, calling it “a song about a girl who has committed a murder that she regrets and is completely remorseful about,” but adds that it “empowers” young women who are abused sexually.
In the video, which premiered on BET Tuesday, a woman guns down the man who raped her. The PTC says it “gives retaliation in the form of premeditated murder the imprimatur of acceptability.”
The founder of PTC’s “Enough is Enough” campaign says the new video is “a clear violation of BET’s own programming guidelines.”
“I join with the Parents Television Council and Industry Ears in calling on Viacom executives to immediately pull the video from programs that are targeted to youth and teenagers,” Pastor Delman Coates wrote in a press release.
On the Industry Ears website, the group describes itself as a “nonpartisan think tank aimed at addressing and finding solutions to disparities in media that negatively impact individuals and communities.”
BET, which is owned by parent company Viacom, issued a statement yesterday saying the video complied with “a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines that are applied to all of our content.”
“At the same time, it is clear that the ‘Man Down’ video has sparked a passionate dialogue and we will continue this conversation with our audience tonight on 106 & Park.”
Rihanna herself phoned in to the program last night to discuss the firestorm.
“‘Man Down’ is a song about a girl who has committed a murder that she regrets and is completely remorseful about,” she said. “You hear her crying to her mama, saying why she did it. It could have been somebody’s son. She didn’t mean to hurt him.”
She wanted to focus on “a very serious matter that people are afraid to address,” she said.
“Rape is, unfortunately, happening all over the world and right in our own homes,” she said, “and we continue to cover it up, pretend it doesn’t happen.”
Rihanna said her young female fans “are empowered by this.”
“This is a story for them,” she said. “It’s not for the critics.”
Rihanna has also spoken out on Twitter about the song.
“I love you guys, and I love that u GOT IT!!!” Rihanna tweeted Wednesday.
“We’re strong innocent fun flirtatious vulnerable, and sometimes our innocence can cause us to be naive! We always think it could NEVER be us, but in reality, it can happen to ANY of us!” she wrote.
She took to Twitter again yesterday to defend her video.
“I’m a 23 year old rockstar with NO KIDS! What’s up with everybody wantin me to be a parent? I’m just a girl, I can only be your/our voice!”
“Cuz we all know how difficult/embarrassing it is to communicate touchy subject matters to anyone especially our parents!”
“And this is why! Cuz we turn the other cheek! U can’t hide your kids from society, or they’ll never learn how to adapt! This is the REAL WORLD!”
“The music industry isn’t exactly Parents R Us! We have the freedom to make art, LET US! Its your job to make sure they dont turn out like US.”
What do YOU think? Is this “Man Down” video too much for TV, or is the media making a mountain out of a molehill?
You can check out Rihanna’s new video below.